***POV - Damion
It’s Thursday around 9 pm and we drive through giant steel gates entering the pier where we’re supposed to meet Scarface (the nickname Mel gave Harry). He’s chosen his location carefully, cause at the moment this entire area is closed down, though I’m not sure why exactly. However, we are rather familiar with it since we occasionally come here with our bikes to perform some stunts for our YouTube channel – The San Francisco Boys. Driving and jumping on cargo crates are quite fun and dangerous and judging by the comments from our viewers … also highly entertaining.
Dad and Uncle John are in the backseat of an armored black Chevy Suburban SUV driven by armed bodyguards. Us boys are on our Reaper dirt bikes, dressed up in the same kind of clothes used by SWAT, and we’re all connected by earpieces specifically designed for tactical, covert, direct-to-ear incoming, and outgoing radio communications – all of which are sponsored by Uncle John’s company of course.
I salute the old guys before we drive out to take cover among the stacked shipping crates, waiting for the other party to arrive. The plan is for us to remain covert and only reveal ourselves when something goes wrong … and of course, if Scarface shows his ass, we’re going to take him down.
We find a spot far enough to not be seen, but with a good view of the meeting sight. I lift the screen of my helmet and look at Logan and Jackson parked next to me. Axel, Ilkay, and Enrique are on the other side of the pier. The car is parked in the middle of a large open area, in semi-darkness, only illuminated by the light of the moon and a few distant street lamps.
I scroll through my playlist and put on the song from Rachel Platten again. I’ve been listening to it the entire trip here, but I need to focus on the words. Mel sent me this song as a message shortly before we left the house and a slight smile creeps onto my face, my mind drifts away with thoughts of her.
’Even if we can’t find heaven
Hands put your empty hands in mine
And scars show me all the scars you hide ’
Logan taps on my helmet giving me a strange look. I ignore him, pointing to my earphones.
’And hey, if your wings are broken
Please take mine ’til yours can open too
’Cause I’m gonna stand by you
Oh, tears make kaleidoscopes in your eyes
And hurt, I know you’re hurting but so am I
And love, if your wings are broken
Borrow mine so yours can open too
’Cause I’m gonna stand by you
Even if we’re breaking down
We can find a way to break through
Even if we can’t find heaven
I’ll walk through hell with you
Love, you’re not alone
‘Cause I’m gonna stand by you’
He now hits my helmet and I reluctantly change my earphones to the tactical ones so I can hear the guys talking.
“You think he’s going to show?” Logan is playing with the strap of his helmet, his eyes are dark shadows, highlighting the blackness I’m feeling inside me.
“Personally I don’t think he’s that stupid.” I try to focus on our assignment and not think about the song anymore. Am I ready to show Mel all my scars? Is she ready to face them?
“Yeh, that’s what I was thinking too.” Ilkay’s voice comes over the radio. We fall back into silence, and I’m thinking about how one single moment can change a person’s life forever. In just the blink of an eye the universe can blast your life out of proportion, without you having any ability to stop it, and neither can you terminate the rippling aftereffects that keep on shattering your existence over and over again. Every single person experiences moments like that. It’s a normal part of life.
But periodically, the universe seems to have an exceptionally wicked day where it goes and throws a hellish moment on some unfortunate person’s path. Well, all of the guys here experienced at least one of those ‘moments from hell’ and I suppose that’s why we’re such a tight-knit group. We rarely discuss it, but we’re all aware that it exists, concealed in the shadows of our minds.
My first dark moment was the day my sister died.
The Blackburns saw the mutilated body of their mother and also experienced some abuse by their grandfather or something. Axel, well he had a shitty childhood with an abusive father and an older sister that took her own life. It doesn’t actually matter where the demons come from … the point is that we’ve turned out not too damn bad, nonetheless – mostly due to our strong bond and friendship.
Because if one of us dares to break down, the others will find a way to break through and keep him from sinking into the pit of despair. We got each other’s backs no matter what. We will walk through hell for each other. And now I’m secretly loving their little sister. Will we be able to break through this hell together … or will I get burned?
But Mel is my angel … the one thing that keeps my heart beating … the person I can’t live without. I hope that my friends will understand this. She’s my way out of the shithole of darkness. I just need to make sure I don’t fuck it up.
Headlights swerve through the gate and forewarn us that a car is coming, and then a dark car drives into sight. It stops nose-to-nose with the SUV and turns off the lights. The guards in our vehicle get out, sheltering themselves behind their doors, and aim their guns at the parked car.
“Okay, boys, here we go.” Dad’s voice comes over the radio and he sounds calm and collected. Dad and Uncle John get out, hands in the air, and move to the front of their SUV. A single man gets out of the pickup and joins them. Could it be Scarface? Or maybe D? But my gut tells me it’s not.
“Who are you?” We can hear the conversation on our radios. So not Harry then.
“It doesn’t matter, I’m just paid to do a job.” He hands over a package to my dad.
“It’s a phone. Read the message written on the package.” The guy waits for them to respond. Dad reads the message out loud, knowing we can hear it.
“It’s time to face your fate. The guilty ones must surrender so the innocents won’t get harmed. I’ll send you more information on this phone.”
“You can communicate with him on that phone.” The man says.
“Okay, got it.” Uncle John responds. The man turns around to leave, but then he puts his index finger in the air, turning back.
“Oh, and there’s one more thing. I also have a message for a Damion guy.” I clench my hands tight on my handlebars, trying to stay in control, but my stomach is turning upside down and my heartbeat race up.
“What’s the message?” I can hear my dad’s voice is now straint, not the collected calm one from before. The man pulls something from his pocket - it seems like a piece of paper, and then starts reading it.
“Little biker, you will be punished for screwing my girl. She belongs to me and soon I’ll make you watch as I claim her for myself. Lots of love, D.” He hands the paper to my father, tips his head to the two old guys, gets back into his car, and drives away. It feels as if I’m going to explode and blood seeps into my mouth from biting my lip.
“What the fuck?” Enrique, like usual, is the first one to break the silence.
“D wants Mel,” Jackson answers and I take a deep breath. Over my dead fucking body, or rather over his dead body. This D dude hasn’t met the devil hiding inside me, but he’s going to feel its rage if he touches Mel. This time, I’m ready.
“Fuck them all!” Enrique shouts into my ear.
“Let’s go to Damion’s house. We need to organize a plan.” Uncle John says into the radio while they get back into the SUV.
I change earphones again and start my bike, speeding off into the streets, the anger inside me causing me to pull my throttle open, increasing my speed to way over the legal limit. I can hear the other bikes following behind as we swerve through traffic.
’Yeah, you’re all I never knew I needed
And the heart, sometimes it’s unclear why it’s beating
And love, if your wings are broken
We can brave through those emotions too
‘Cause I’m gonna stand by you’
The words echo in my ears and I try to push back, to take back control, but at this stage, I’m so high on adrenaline that nothing else matters. Axel swerves to avoid a car and he almost collides with me but we manage to circumvent an accident. Still going too slow for my taste I increase my speed even more, suddenly wishing I wasn’t on my scrambler.
’And oh, truth I guess truth is what you believe in
And faith, I think faith is having a reason
And I know, know love, if your wings are broken
Borrow mine so yours can open too’
Then it’s as if something in my brain sparks to life. I need to stay alive to protect Mel, I can’t do anything if I’m hurt or dead. My hand relaxes and my bike slows down. On cue, the rest of the guys follow and without incident, we reach my house.
“That was incredibly stupid.” Dad grabs my arm as soon as he gets out of the car and I can see in his eyes that he’s not happy with me right now.
“I’m sorry.” I watch as the others follow Uncle John into the house, leaving me alone with my father.
“I was just so angry, I feel so powerless. Dad, I can’t lose her.”
“Then start putting her first. Think about her before you do something brainless again. Remember that she can’t lose you as well.” He’s still mad and I can’t blame him, but he puts his arm around my shoulder as we walk inside. I acted like a child and I know he’s right, I must think about her, I must keep control – now more than ever. But it’s not so easy when my whole control support network – aka my rules – is not there to back me up anymore.
“We don’t have much time to sort something out.” Ilkay starts the conversation as we sit down around the table in the kitchen while I make some coffee. Uncle John taped the conversation so we listen to it again.
“So how do we know who are the guilty ones and who are the innocents?” Jackson asks, looking at his uncle.
“I didn’t read it but he actually added a list of names.” Uncle John reads the names that include himself, Garcia, Mel’s dad, Jackson, and a few names I don’t recognize. Also, Alexander and George, but they’re both struck out. I look at Jackson who’s staring through the window into the darkness, his face unreadable.
“So, J dude, what did you do to land in the penalty box?” I ask, rather confused. Wasn’t Jackson like only a child back then … around 11 or so?
He doesn’t move, just shrugs his shoulders. Then he turns around and gapes intently at me, asking “Why is D so adamant that you’re screwing our sister?”
Logan hasn’t said a word since we left the harbor and now he’s looking at me with a scorned face, “That’s what I also want to know.”
I know I’ll have to tell them about my feelings sooner rather than later, but now is not the right time. I hate lying to my best friends and decide that making a joke about the truth is the best way to go.
“Because I am screwing her.” I’ve never seen seven heads pop up as fast as that, staring at me like a troop of bush babies.
“Haven’t you seen the news?” I add then, studying their reaction closely. Then I burst out laughing as all their faces droop into pitiful expressions.
“Fuck you dude.” Enrique scolds shaking his head. “That was not funny!”
“It’s a little funny.”
There’s a noise on the staircase and Mel and Kiara walk down, Mel’s eyes still full of sleep. We must have woken them up. They were bundled into my house, by instruction of her brothers, to be safe while we were away. Not that I’m complaining.
It takes Mel some time to completely wake up, so when she wipes her eyes with the back of her hands, I realize we might have a small problem – right now she doesn’t know what she’s doing. And I am right ’cause the next moment she grabs me and plants a kiss on my cheek.
“Hello, sexy,” she says with a warm loving smile.
I stand frozen, her arms still around my neck, my mind working faster than my bike’s top speed, thinking of how the hell I’m going to explain this to her family watching with confused expressions.
I awkwardly remove her arms from my body, while Kiara steps on her foot to make her come to her senses. I see the lights turning on in her eyes.
“Eh, Mel, I think your mind is still asleep girl,” Kiara says, trying to avert the tragedy that might just cost me my life. Mel moves frantically away from me, a warm blush on her cheeks, looking extremely cute.
“Sorry, dude!” she desperately backtracks. I nod, playing along. At least her family seems to buy the whole act. It’s strange … usually, they’re quite attentive … but with this matter, they seem to have gone blind. Maybe they just don’t believe that I would ever break my rules … or maybe they are just blindly trusting their best friend.
The girls grab some coffee and sit on the counter at the window. I secretly look at Mel dressed in her puny pajama shorts and a crop top and think about holding that sexiness in my arms later. My dick fills to push against my pants. I don’t know how long I’m going to be able to resist the urge, but I’ll never push her to have sex. I’ll wait until she’s ready.
“Like I was saying before we got so rudely interrupted by the two sleeping beauties,” Ilkay teases “What do we know for sure?”
“Harry wants the people on the list to … suffer, die, pay, or what?” Logan asks.
“Okay, so I understand Alexander and George, and why they’re strikethrough, I also get why dad and Alberto are there, but what did you do Uncle John? And Jackson?” Ilkay asks, looking at his uncle.
“Well, I was the one that handed his wife over. See, someone left me a flash drive with destructive evidence against her. I handed the drive over to George, sealing her fate.” Uncle John wipes his hand over his face.
“I really believed she was guilty. But when she committed suicide, poor Harry was punished in her place - cut, tortured in the worst possible ways, and left to die from blood loss and pain. But somebody took pity on him and helped him to escape with his kids. We never figured out who that person was,” he continues in a soft sad voice.
“If what Harry told me the other night is true, mom is the one that saved him,” Mel says quietly.
“And about four years later she was murdered and soon after that George and Alexander got blown up,” Logan says. For a while, everybody is quiet, deep in their own thoughts. Me, I’m thinking about holding Mel in my sleep.
“Well, I’m going to call it a night. This old body can only handle a certain little amount of excitement per day.” Uncle John gets up.
“I’m also tired.” Dad joins him and they walk out the door, leaving us in the kitchen.
Mel, still sitting on the counter next to Kiara, whispers something in her friend’s ear, and then they jump to the floor together.
“We’re going to bed,” Kiara explains, pulling Mel with her. The guys think that both girls sleep together in my spare bedroom. I seriously owe Kiara, big time. When they walk past me, Mel winks at me and I desperately just want to follow her upstairs.
But, I manage to wait a good five minutes before I chase the guys out of the house, with the excuse of an early practice session.